Bagenal lineage up to date!

The original Nicholas Bagenal was rabidly anti-Catholic (he lived through the [Protestant] Reformation and it was politically correct, and indeed personally advantageous to take such a stand) ….

…. and, having ‘acquired’ the Cistercian monks’ lands and property he advertised for Protestants and Dissenters (Presbyterians etc), of practically any moral character whatever, to come and settle on his new domain of Newry and Mourne.  They would, of course, displace the Gaelic clans on their own land!

His son and heir Henry – who like him was appointed Marshall of the Royal forces in Ireland, but who perished at the Battle of the Yellow Ford – followed in his father’s footsteps, as did his [seventeenth century] heirs, though none other were to be so honoured with government position.

But long-term settlement in Ireland has always had its effects on the Old English and by the time of the Civil War, the Cromwellian settlement and the Restoration, in the middle of the following century, a number of the Bagenals had changed sides (both politically and religiously!) and backed what turned out to be the losing side in that long-running conflict.

And since history is always written by the victors, these unfortunates have been simply written out of the record. Till now, that is!

Officially we learn that the Bagenal line died out and the succession went to the Needhams.

This is not quite so, we now know, for indeed we have Bagenals resident in Newry today. It is unlikely that they are an entirely separate line.

Anyway, we know from Philip H Bagenal’s work, The Vicissitudes of an Anglo-Irish Family (Ingleby 1925) that there were other lines who were banished as ‘perverts to Catholicism’ to Connaught as part of the English policy of ‘To Hell! Or Connaught!’

And now, through the good auspices of the Newry Journal, your editor has been contacted by a descendant of the original Newry Bagenals.

Gabriel Sheridan practices as an attorney in the Oregon and Washington States of the United States and contacts me to inform me of his genealogical lineage.

We, writes Gabriel, are a Catholic family, courtesy of my great-great grandmother Jane (Sargint?)/ Sargeant who was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary and who – married into the Bagenal line – converted to Catholicism.

The children of George Bagenal, Gabriel continues, were banished to County Galway in punishment for their support for King James II and the Catholic cause at the time of the English Civil War. Through the intercession of Ann Matthews, a Catholic niece, members of the family settled near Chair, County Tipperary.

Jane Sargint’s own grandmother was Mary Bagenal, who married Richard Sargint on May 1771 at Ardfinan Church of Ireland. By this line she was a direct descendant of the Nicholas Bagenal who settled in Newry in 1550.

Those members of the aforementioned George Bagenal’s family banished to Galway included Thomas and his wife and an invalid brother Nicholas. Another brother Dudley fled to France while yet another, Walter by name, was hanged!

Gabriel’s own family evolved through one of the five sons of this Thomas Bagenal.

And now for the greatest irony of all!

Today, Gabriel’s sister Margaret Mary is the Mother General of the Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Michigan.

Her name now is Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan R.S.M. 

It was in Michigan that Gabriel too was born and raised.

Gabriel has closely researched his roots and found that, over the generations he has ties with many Irish family names including ..

O’Brien, Toohey, Coumans, Harmon, O’Shea – and, on the Sheridan side, Sherade MacGiolla Padraig (more commonly known as Fitzpatrick) – and also Butler (of the Earls of Ormonde) Cavanaugh, and many others.

It is only recently he has discovered the Bagenal connection!

I love this genealogical research. It always throws up surprises like that!


Gabriel: would you kindly request your sister Mother Mary to say a few novenas to expiate the sins of her early ancestors in Ireland, who displaced our good monks!

And who – God bless us all – the Newry & Mourne Council have seen fit to edify into the third Christian Millennium, at the cost of those same monks whose former home is now perversely referred to as ‘Bagenal’s Castle’ !!!

… Bagenals redeemed! …

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